Kisses and cuddles all day? Yeah, right!
As with any profession, there are preconceived notions about running a dog walking company.
Since the job of dog walking is fairly young, just coming out of puberty at around 15/20 years of age, most people just don’t see it as a real job.
They see it more as a part time gig or something to do to get the piggy bank of their 8-year-olds filled. But with the demand for dog walkers and pet sitters steadily rising…
So here I am with my geekiest of glasses on to do some good old fashion dog walking myths busting.
#1: ALL YOU DO IS CUDDLE AND PLAY WITH PETS
Sure we play and cuddle with pets, but we also deal with what comes out of the pets.
Throw up, (a lot of!) poop, diarrhea, the smell of poop on a hot summer day when dragging all the filled poop bags back to the owner’s home.
And then not to forget when it’s a snow day for the regular peeps, we will not skip a visit to get the dogs out or the cats with insulin needs taken care off.
Oh, and did I mention exhaustion when walking 10 hours/day 7 days/week???
We pride ourselves to walk in the rain. But to walk around in the rain for hours, when our pants are inevitably drenched and part of our sock is moist, is not much fun.
And not to speak of dealing with some OCD clients, that leave you sticky notes all over the house.
They watch your every move on their camera.
Or the clients that just went on a $10,000 cruise, but can’t even get you paid on time.
Amidst all this there I something way worse: It’s when one of our furry charges passes – it hits us just as hard as it does their parents.
So, no it’s not all cuddles and plays all day, BUT we still wouldn’t trade it for anything else!
#2: HAVING A DOG WALKING BUSINESS IS NOT A REAL JOB
When first starting my dog walking business EVERYONE in my family was very hesitant to support me – and I don’t blame them one bit.
I surely believed in it just looking at the numbers and the potential for its success. A few months in and hearing about my revenue, everyone was in AHHH and all of a sudden praised me for making such a great decision. Oh well! 🙂
The value of dog walking businesses surely has changed.
People are starting to gain more respect for us business owners. But I still get the occasional question: “And what do you do as a Full-Time job?”.
Let them believe it’s not a real thing and you can’t make six figures pretty easily. Let them work for someone else 12hours/day and we will gladly give their dog a midday walk …. and get paid. ‘Nuff said.
#3: YOU WILL GROW FAST BY JUST WORD OF MOUTH
That might be the biggest lie of them all!
Sure, word of mouth is super important, but only using this marketing channel will grow your business at less than snail’s pace. A real marketing strategy is super important.
Exposure and diversification are the keys.
Now I’m completely against posting your business information EVERYWHERE on the internet, as so many suggest because all it will get you is spam.
Instead, focus on having a great web presence – aka shiny website and excellent google & yelp reviews.
Be the expert in the field within your neighborhood – write blog posts and share them with your local FB group.
Print a monthly newsletter with immense value for pet owners and drop them off at apartment buildings, vet offices, local pet supply shops.
Wrap your car with attractive advertising (if you’re comfortable with that and don’t drive like an a**hole) Don’t just depend on someone else doing the advertising for you.
Be proactive, creative and never forget to let your personality shine through.